Facility Name: Shinjuku Cosmic Center 新宿コズミックセンター One of the facilities used for these workshops was the Shinjuku Cosmic Center in Okubo, Shinjuku-ku. It is around the corner from Shinjuku Sports Center, home of the Shinjuku Kendo Renmei practice. Both are adjacent to one of the main grounds of Waseda University (早稲田大学). Shinjuku Cosmic Center is on Meiji-dori (明治通り), the main arterial road that connects Shibuya (渋谷), Shinjuku (新宿) and Ikebukuro (池袋). It is just a couple of minutes walk from Tokyo Metro Nishi-Waseda Station 西早稲田 (Fukutoshin line/副都心線).
Facilities: sprung wooden floor dojo, mat dojo, kyudojo (archery), general sports halls including pool, conference facilities
Location: Okubo, Shinjuku Ward, Tokyo 東京都新宿区大久保
Construction Type: concrete
Summary: budojo facilities within a community sports center
November is grading season in Tokyo. In particular 6-7 dan shinsa in all three ZNKR arts（kendo, iaido and jodo) take place during this month. Many practitioners of these arts who are not resident in Japan come to Tokyo for this. It is often the case that such high level gradings are not available outside of Japan due to not having enough requisite 8-dan holders if any to convene a grading panel. A group of iaidoka from the Australian Kendo Renmei came to Tokyo for a week of workshops timed so that at the end of the week a few among them could take their shinsa. A couple of days on their schedule involved my iaido-sensei so he invited me to join in.
This particular stretch of Meiji-dori has a few sites which seems quite suburban compared to most of Tokyo as it hosts a semi-detached MacDonald’s, a free standing Big Boy Dining restaurant and a free standing Uniqlo. With strip mall style parking in front, this section would not be out of place in Los Angeles. As it lies roughly halfway between the busy sub-centers of Shinjuku station and Ikebukuro station, it is relatively remote so would likely have seen increased population density relatively late compared to other parts of central Tokyo. It is worth nothing that Tokyo is a network of several sub-centers rather than having a single identifiable “downtown.”
Shinjuku Cosmic Center offers three dojo facilities. Dojo 1 is a matted dojo meant for arts like judo and aikido. Measuring about 15m x 18m, Dojo 1 has a mat area of 72 mats, based on standard judo mats of 1m x 2m. The center’s website states it has a 98jo/畳 area, but this seems to be based on the area of an actual Tokyo tatami mat (jo size differ between regions), which differs from a metric based competition judo mat.Of the same overall size, Dojo 2 has a sprung wooden floor (likely of the rubber layer variety though quite springy) suitable for kendo, iaido, etc. Finally, there is a kyudojo for traditional Japanese archery. While Dojo 2 does accommodate iaido, the ground rules state no shinken are permitted. I’m not sure this is enforced but I suppose if damage happens to the dojo due to a shinken then violation of the rules could be pressed against the damaging party.
In the cases of both Dojo 1 and Dojo 2, windows are along only one side of the hall with padded columns. Wooden paneling line the adjacent and opposite walls. Beyond the lining, one can see the fair faced insitu concrete structure. The ceilings have a suspended metal grill from which the lights peer through. The kyudojo features a 28m long range that can accommodate up to 7 archers. The targets are set against an earthen canted wall. When archers must stand down so arrows can be collected a red rotating light like the kind found on top of emergency vehicles turns on. Spectators can watch from behind the safety of a glass partition. On the other side of the range from the spectator area seems to be a storage and other support facilities for the kyudojo.
Aside from the regular classes held there, the dojo facilities can be booked out like in the case of the workshops. There are also unreserved blocks of a couple of hours on some afternoons for Dojo 1 and 2, which individuals can pay a small amount (at the time of writing ¥300) to use along with other individuals. The budojo facilities are well maintained and small changing facilities are adjacent.
Architecturally there is nothing terribly remarkable about the Cosmic Center or the dojo facilities within it. It is an example of open to public purpose-built budo facilities available within a community sports center. While these are not exactly around every corner, there seems to be enough of them to remind me how relatively popular budo is in Japan.Contact information for this center
address: 3-1-2 Okubo, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo, 東京都新宿区大久保３－１－２